10 ICONIC songs from Soviet movies (VIDEOS)

Kira Lisitskaya (Photo: Mosfilm, Gorky Film Studio, Imagebroker/Globa Look Press)
Cinema in the USSR was famous not only for its honed scripts and brilliant acting, but also for soundtracks that are still popular!

1. ‘Walking in Moscow’ from the movie ‘Walking the Streets of Moscow’

The song starts with the words: ‘Sometimes everything seems well in the world…’; just like the entire movie, the song is filled with the late-Soviet atmosphere of the thaw, the joy of youth, and hope. The song was sung by the lead actor and future Oscar-winning director, Nikita Mikhalkov, for whom this role was a cinematic debut. Andrey Petrov’s song, based on the poem by Gennady Shpalikov, ended up becoming an unofficial anthem of Moscow.

2. ‘We Need Only One Victory’ from the movie ‘Belorussian Station’

“One for all of us, at any price”, Bulat Okudzhava proclaimed in what became one of the most powerful songs about war. In the movie, it’s sung by former brothers-in-arms, who meet 20 years after the war, their eyes full of tears. The song is invariably heard at every May 9  celebration concert, while the movie ‘Belorussian Station’ runs on TV.

3. ‘The Island of Bad Luck’ from the movie ‘The Diamond Arm’

There was a chance that the Soviet audience would never have heard this energetic song! The Artistic Council of Mosfilm (the film studio) wanted to cut the scene with the song: according to them, it stalled the action (besides, its text could be viewed as anti-Soviet). But director Leonid Gaidai stood his ground, and today, this song is an iconic hit.

4. ‘The Song About Hares’ from the movie ‘The Diamond Arm’

Yet another hit from ‘The Diamond Arm’, the song is also known as ‘We Don’t Care.’ It’s performed by actor Yuri Nikulin, whose character in the film carries diamonds, hidden in his arm cast. He sings it while quite tipsy, after meeting the bad guys in a restaurant. This is a very life-affirming song about bunnies, who, although they’re afraid of everything, still get the job done.

5. ‘Hold On, Locomotive’ from the movie ‘Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures’

This is a heart-rending song with lyrics that tell the story of a son who wants to see his mother. He asks the conductor to pump the breaks. However, in this comedy by Gaidai, the song is performed by the funniest character – a petty criminal. When performed by actor Yuri Nikulin, even the words “I’ve been sucked in by a dangerous mire” sound funny.

6. ‘I Like That I am Not Your Inner Pain’ from the movie ‘The Irony of Fate’

There are a lot of great songs based on poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Bella Akhmadulina, Boris Pasternak, and other famous poets in the still-beloved New Year’s Eve movie ‘The Irony of Fate.’ Picking the best song here would be a daunting task. But, perhaps, this song – based on the poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, and performed by Alla Pugacheva (who also voiced it in the film) – is the most iconic.

7. ‘Alexandra’ from the movie ‘Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears’

Yet another unofficial Moscow anthem plays at the beginning of the Oscar-winning ‘Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears.’ It starts with the words that have since become an adage: “Everything was not settled at once, Moscow was not built in a day.” Alexandra is the name of one of the characters, who, however, you’ll see only in the second part of the movie. The music for the song was written by Sergey Nikitin, who performed the song with his wife Tatiana.

8. ‘Wind of Change’ from the movie ‘Mary Poppins, Goodbye’

This is one of the most popular Russian songs, with covers by dozens of artists. From a soundtrack to a children’s fantasy movie, it turned into a timeless hit. It gives the listener hope that, tomorrow, the winds will change, and good will triumph over evil.

9. ‘Call Me, Call Me’ from the movie ‘Carnival’

This is a genuine Soviet disco hit with a great music video right in the movie. By the way, the topic itself – the phone – was very relevant at the beginning of the 1980s. This song came to symbolize the hopeless desperation of every girl who suffered unrequited love. Singer Zhanna Rozhdestvenskaya voiced the song for actress Irina Muravyova.

10. ‘Winged Swings’ from the movie ‘The Adventures of the Elektronic’

This is probably the single most nostalgic song  for anyone who grew up in the USSR. ‘Winged Swings’ tells us not to rush growing up, instilling in us a hope for a bright future ahead. In a very Soviet way, it goes: “Only the skies, only the wind, only happiness ahead!” In the movie, the song was performed by the angelic voices of the Children’s Choir of the Bolshoi Theater.

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